I remember sitting in Howlers Coyote Café with Mary Jo when I said I didn’t know anything about Stephen Foster. She sorta looked at me like I’d been living under a rock since I moved to Pittsburgh. Then she gave a brief explanation of how the man lived in Lawrenceville and went on to become a famed musician.
"The father of American music," some say.
I’m generally pretty dismissive of this sort of thing - musical ancestry. But something about this man and his face on the R.A.N.T. fliers intrigued me. It made me even more excited for the event and my newly planted “roots” (more like seedlings) on the East End of Pittsburgh.
Now, does the musical heritage of Lawrenceville contribute to the success of arts and culture in that particular area of the city?
Well, it certainly inspired me. And it seems to have inspired the guys who helped me lug two massive JBLs across Butler Street, up a few flights of steps, and through several bowling lanes crowded with inebriated yinzers, transplants, and tourists.
It seemed to keep Charmaine Evonne awake while she helped Don, Jason, and I set up the PA and check the levels. She had already been spinning fire in the 80 degree weather over at Arsenal Park before I’d even gotten dressed.
It seemed to keep Ryan Taylor from the beginning through to the end of the show. Then he and a new friend Patrick were carrying those JBLs back through the crowd again, one man on each speaker. Impressive.
It seemed to inspire Jess Joseph and Mike Why, among many others, to play multiple shows throughout the neighborhood.
It seemed to bring out Peter Flynn, who I don’t believe I’d met until that evening, and who I greatly enjoyed.
All these musicians (with the exception of Don, who was playing out front with Don Strange & The Doosh Bears) performed with me in the lounge at Arsenal Bowl this past Saturday. Many thanks to them for their hard work, talent, and assistance in running the stage!
R.A.N.T. is seemingly infused with a shared love of music dating back to the 1800s and pointing directly to the little quadrant of the city that residents lovingly call LVille or Larryville.
However, considering all these potentials, I’m quite certain this event couldn’t have happened without DJ Zombo and Mary Jo. With the assistance of a crew of volunteers, they commanded 25 venues that hosted over 100 bands. Much appreciation and gratitude to yinz for bringing us all on board for this monumental event.
That man playing guitar, Chet Vincent, is a huge inspiration to me and, I’m quite certain, the rest of our community in Pittsburgh and its music scene.
Seeing Chet perform “Roll On Ohio" on CBS in anticipation of Lawrenceville’s RANT (Rock All Night Tour) absolutely captivated me. I’ve heard this song played in a variety of different ways, from my headphones to the stage, from acoustic to electric, from solo to the full Molly Alphabet band. And it’s always struck a certain chord of longing and adventure, yet with a familiar comfort of “home.”
Truly, I’m thankful for Chet’s presence in this music community and the art he has contributed over his time writing, performing, and working in this city.
And I’m even more excited for RANT!
Molly Alphabet plays in Arsenal Park around 4 p.m. amongst a family-friendly lineup of other such favorites as… Universal Beat Union : King Fez : Jeremy Caywood & The Way of Life : Unknown String Band : Moldies & Monsters : Round Black Ghosts : Timbeleza
Personally, I’ll be hosting the Arsenal Bowl bar and lounge area. Doors are at 7 p.m. and I’ll be starting things off by playing a set around 8 p.m. Joining me on our semi-acoustical stage shall be… Charmaine Evonne : Jason McCann : Ryan Taylor : Joe Pugsley : Pete Flynn : Jess Joseph : Mike Why
I sometimes hang out in churches. And I found #DorotheaDix “…an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums. During the Civil War, she served as Superintendent of Army of Nurses.” (at Heinz Memorial Chapel)